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Does Your Business Belong on YouTube?

There are tons of articles out there focused on advising businesses how to utilize social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. In them, you usually find YouTube reduced to nothing more than a footnote, waved away as completely optional fluff. Even on the cusp of 2017, it seems that many marketers are still reluctant to admit that video is an essential component of a successful inbound marketing strategy.

In all actuality, determining if your business should have a YouTube presence is as easy as answering this question: Are your customers or industry influencers watching videos on YouTube? If the answer is yes, then you should have a YouTube channel.

YouTube is more than just a platform for product reviews and makeup tutorials. It’s the second most used search engine and the second most popular website in the world, bested in both cases only by Google. With the number of hours people spend watching videos on YouTube is up 60% year-over-year, the site is no passing fad — it’s an unstoppable powerhouse.

What are the Benefits of Being on YouTube?

Every company can gain something from YouTube. From increased brand recognition to authority within the industry to customer engagement, YouTube is one of the most well-rounded marketing tools available. What’s more, consumers expect businesses and brands to have a YouTube presence. Simply put, if politicians, the Pope and the Queen of England can reap the benefits of being on YouTube, so can you.

1. YouTube Has a Large Worldwide Audience

Getting your products in front of your customers isn’t always the easiest of feats, especially without spending a fortune on advertising. That’s where YouTube comes in.

With 1.3 billion users (almost a third of all people on the internet), YouTube has no problem getting your content to the people who need to see it. And it’s not just for the kids! YouTube reaches more 18-49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S. It also reaches 95% of online adults 55 and over each month.

YouTube has an international presence like no other. Available in more than 88 countries and 76 different languages, YouTube is truly global. In addition to the considerable number of potential customers, YouTube is easily accessible as well. People have the ability to access the site from a multitude of different devices including PCs, laptops, smartphones, tablets and smart TVs.

2. YouTube is Personal

Megan Sullivan of Quickbooks put it perfectly when she said, “Social media is first and foremost social; use it as a personal touch point to your audience.”

While writing on your website and posting on Facebook is an excellent way to get established, it lacks a personal touch. The emotional influence of video is far more powerful than that of the written word; making it easier to connect and build a rapport with audiences. This emotional engagement with consumers creates interest and gives your company and products tremendous appeal. Building a relationship with consumers not only grows your customer base, it gives you a hell of a leg up on your competition.

3. YouTube Users Actually Watch Ads

Did you know Google has a leaderboard of the most watched YouTube ads? Not only is that fun to keep up with, it also demonstrates that viewers actually choose to watch (and share) these advertisements. If you take the time to create a unique or compelling ad, YouTube users will not only take notice, they may even share it with others. In fact, from 2014 to 2015, Google executives said that higher-quality, creative ads led to a 25 percent increase in paid clicks.

4. Video = Conversion

Speaking of paid clicks, did you know that 70% of marketers consider video to be the most effective means of driving conversions. This is due to the abstract and intangible nature of online shopping. Since demonstration videos help to relieve any fears they may have about buying a product sight unseen, consumers are more likely to make a purchase after watching one. And according to Social Media Week, YouTube has the highest conversion rates and ROI of any other social network.

5. YouTube is Owned by Google

We all know that when it comes to search engines, Google is the boss — their results can make or break a business. That’s why it only makes sense to take advantage of their other properties as well. Since Google owns YouTube, videos are now showing up in search results. Use these two entities together, and your SEO efforts are bound to pay off.

How to Use YouTube to Your Business’s Advantage

As I pointed out earlier, YouTube is very much a community — a place for you to connect on an emotional level with your customers. If you want your videos to be successful, you need to create them especially for this platform. The best YouTube channels have one quality video after another, not videos uploaded by default from a business’s website.

Combining your marketing content initiatives with your YouTube channel can grow your audience reach in a relevant and interesting way.

Just as you create content for any other type of marketing channel, when creating videos, focus on serving consumer needs. Develop content that informs, instructs and entertains. You can also produce pre-roll advertisements for users watching videos relevant to your industry.

The key is to create a series of content that people will actively seek out and want to watch, such as:

  • Thought leadership: Since everyone loves a good TED Talk, creating interesting and informative pieces that present academic thoughts and tips on your particular field of knowledge is sure to draw in viewers. This will also put your company forward as a thought leader in your industry.
  • Tutorials and how-tos: Most people under the age of 60 recognize YouTube as the go-to site for tutorials. Take the knowledge you’ve acquired from your business and create simple instructional videos that viewers can benefit from.
  • Creative stories: An emotional story or cause that aligns with your brand, told well in video form, has the potential to go viral. Just make sure that it has a genuine connection to your brand, or it won’t lead to conversions.

When it comes to marketing, YouTube simply isn’t a platform that can be ignored. Combined with other social media sites and as part of your overall multi-channel marketing strategy, a strong YouTube presence will have you seeing success. So get out there and take your place in the limelight. You won’t regret it.